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The conspirators who vowed to replace traditional Tasar silk yarns into artificial foreign smuggled yarns at Bhagalpur’s century old silk manufacturing units hatched the conspiracy to eliminate the grass root level silk weavers. Their anticipation was to earn huge through the smuggled foreign yarn but for that their first assignment was how to destroy the century old set of indigenous silk industry here.
Incidentally, contemporary incidents like the ‘Ramshila Juloosh’ (brick procession for the proposed Ram temple at Ajodhya, UP) was a favorable and suitable situation at that time to plant the communal riots here. Secondly, the atmosphere of Bhagalpur was surcharged mainly due to the ache rivalry of two noted gangsters, Inatulla Ansari and Md. Sallan. And the fighting between the two underworld dons here helped to add more fuel to the fire.
We again tried to depict the entire landscape of Bhagalpur of that time and the team of news5pm managed to record the statement of the victims. Details as follows-
Targets fix only for grass roots levels to destroy silk industry :
“Had we not been attached with the silk manufacturing units, we would have been managed to save us during the communal riots,” Bibi Fatima (57) a survivor of Bhagalpur communal carnage on 1989, continues to blame on her fate still today after the lull of 28 of the infamous incident.
Fatima in an acute penury with his two sons who are pulling rickshaws at Nathnagar locality, however can gave the vivid description of her golden yester years; with 18 handlooms and monthly income of more than Rs 7 thousand even before 1989. “My husband looked after the handlooms while I along with other females including children remained busy in preparing Tasar yarns from cocoons. The rioters brutally killed my husband along with other family members and destroyed our silk manufacturing units forever,” tears roll down from her eyes.
Not only Fataima but hundreds members of the silk industry which had taken a shape of cottage industry in this ancient silk city have started weeping silently on their fate since after the riots. Rural women became frustrated as the incident snatched their jobs and engagements while replacing the traditional Tasar into imported China-Korea yarns.
According to official records, before October 1989, there was more than 84 thousand handlooms in the district ( Banka caved out as separate district on 2000) having more than 1.75 Lakh weavers and Tasar yarn manufactures. Entire family of a weaver engaged in the industry; women and children prepared silk yarns from the cocoons traditionally and also for ‘Tana’ (get the yarns ready for the looms) while the male members conduct ‘Bana’ ( wiving the cloths on the looms with the yarns).
The figure of weavers today reduced into 85 thousand with hardly 30 to 35 thousand handlooms remain. “There are hardly 1000 weavers today who still depends on the traditional Bhagalpuri silk manufacturing,” said Balgovind Sharma, a silk exporter here. Halim Ansari a silk exporter and a local leader of JD(U) claimed under the strategy of the underworld dons who operated silk syndicate here for damaging the cottage industry, the riot was spread from Bhagalpur city to the distant minority villages with the help of rumours.
“Muslim tola, a minority dominated village on the southern parts of Kajrali under Sahakund block was untouched while the rioters set the adjacent, Seikhpura, another minority dominated weavers’ hamlet on fire,” Raghu Yadav of Kajrali market recalled.
Villagers in Sajor, Seikhpura, Taramile, Makramdihi, Govindpur, Radhanagar, Chara Barang etc within the radius of 20 to 30 km from this village echoed Alim and Raghu. Officials figures here already established the fact that hundreds villages in the district having a sizable minority weavers populations get completely destroyed during the riots which once were the hub centers for Bhaglpuri silk productions. A few percentage of damage in other minority villagers where there was no silk manufacturing activities, had taken place due to other reasons.
Rijwana Khatun said she along with her younger son returned to this village located some 30 Km away from Bhagalpur district headquarters and falling under Sakund block, on 1991 but her three sons migrated distant places earlier. “Since we have not any option, with the mercy of some big suppliers we gets loan and somehow fulfill the orders,” she pointed out. Earlier before the riots there were 30 minority weavers’ families in the village having more than 100 handlooms. Today there was only 10 looms in function here.
“Silk syndicate silently transformed the socio-economy structures here- after the riots, the monopoly over silk market here shifted from minority’s pockets to the pockets of the business communities. Besides the small weavers engaged in the industry converted into daily wage labourers here,” pointed out Babloo Kumar, a social activist here.
(to be concluded)